Maokai jungle guide

/!\ Due to the latest patch this article is now outdated and needs a rework /!\

This is a guide for a character in League of Legends.

Maokai the Twisted Treant.

Maokai can fill almost any role but is more often played as a jungler.



  • Tanky.
  • Great Ganks.


  • Rely on blue buff, mana hungry.
  • Below average cleaning speed.

Summoner spells

  • Smite: Mandatory for a jungler.
  • Flash: As a jungler Flash provides many opportunities to escape easily.


  • Sap Magic (passive): Maokai gains a charge of Sap Magic any time he or another hero casts a skill around him.

On the fifth charge Maokai's next auto attack will heal him for 7% of his maximum health

  • Arcane Smash (Q): Maokai smashes the ground and disrupt in front of him as follows dealing magic damages as follows: (70/115/160/205/250 +40% AP). This skill slows the enemies hit for 2 seconds as follows: (20/27/34/41/48% movement speed reduction). On the initial impact Maokai knocks back the enemies from a little AOE around him.
    Range: 600. Cooldown: 6. Cost: 55 mana.

This is your main skill in the jungle. This a skill shot that slows in a lane in front of him and slow + knock back in a small area around Maokai. With this skill you will hit every creeps from any camps.

  • Twisted Advance (W): Maokai dash to a target dealing magic damages as follows: (80/115/150/185/220 +80% AP).

It also roots the target for duration as follows: (1/1.25/1.5/1.75/2 seconds).
Range: 650. Cooldown: 13 Cost: (75/80/85/90/95 mana)

Arguably the best skill to gank in the game. It's a lock, you just have to reach your target. Nowadays everyone prefers Twisted Avance over Sapling Toss. It will provide many easy kills to your team. Maokai is a great ganker and not a really good farmer so you have to play him accordingly. The root is just a block or a 100% movement speed debuff for duration. The enemy is still able to attack and cast. You can cast it to run away. If you are caught in the enemy jungle or if you are running away in any jungle you can gain the sight on any camp with a Sapling Toss (E) then cast Twisted Advance; you will leap through the tress. Twisted Advance will be canceled if the target become untargetable but Maokai will chase the target until he catches it even after a flash. Take this into consideration a competent enemy will “pull” you far away from the destination you guessed.

  • Sapling Toss (E): Maokai spawn and toss a sapling at targeted location. If the sapling hits an enemy on the impact it deals AOE magic damages as follows: (40/75/110/145/180 +40% AP). Then the sapling will explode dealing AOE magic damages as follows: (80/130/180/230/280 +60% AP). IF the sapling lands on the ground he will seek and run after the nearest enemy after 1 second. It will run for 2.5 seconds then it will explode. If there is no enemy within 250 range upon landing the sapling will stay at target location giving sight around him for a duration up to 35 seconds or until an enemy enters its range.
    Range: 1100 Cooldown: 12. Cost: (70/80/90/100/110 mana).

It is Maokai's trademark. It was even a bit overrated by many players. Saplings are great to start the jungle but will cost too much after that. The sapling is untargetable and has no life. The enemy can't kill it unlike Shaco's box.

  • Vengeful Maelstrom (R): Toggle: Maokai invokes a defensive AOE at targeted location with a 575 radius that will reduce any incoming damages to allied heroes by 20%. When Maokai cancels it will release its energy dealing magic damages to any enemy inside the AOE as follows: (100/150/200 +50% AP +2 bonus damage per 1 damage absorbed). There is a cap for the bonus damages as follows: (200/250/300).
    Range 625. Cooldown (40/30/20). Cost 75 mana +30 mana per second.

This one is a support ulti. It will potentially be great while teamfighting but it is a bit meh as a jungler. Maokai can maintain it as long as he has mana. The positioning is critical during teamfights because you won't be able to recast it. Everything from this ultimate takes effect within its AOE. Once the enemy steps off it he will not take any damage. Once your allies are not in they will not gain the damage reduction. Vengeful Maelstrom doesn't reduce the damages taken from structures. The damage reduction applies on Maokai as well.

Skill sequence

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Q x x x x x
W x x x x x
E x x x x x
R x x x

You put the first point in Sapling toss (E) to clean your first blue. Then you maximize Q and W. If you have some difficulties with your jungle you can put another point in Sapling Toss E earlier. The base damage on the rank 2 is almost twice the damage of the first rank.


  • On the defensive tree you take the jungle's masteries + Hardiness and Legendary guardian for later teamfights. You can tweak some sustain with more magic resist depending on the meta (more AP top/jungle). Perseverance and Second Wind are nice to jungle but almost useless in teamfights. There is some room for Resistance, Evasive and Swiftness.
  • On the utility tree your are looking for Runic affinity. More movespeed from fleet of Foot is good as well. Maokai is realy blue dependent otherwise he will be out of mana most of the time. This will be balanced a bit with the itemization.


The rune page is set as follows:

  • X9 Flat Armor (marks): It's not standard but Flat armor will help you a bit with your not so good start. You can tweak it with Hybrid penetration or even Attack speed.
  • x9 Flat Armor (seals): More sustain in the jungle from start.
  • X9 Magic Resistance per level (glyphs): To suffer less from the teamfights.
  • X3 Movement Speed (quintessences): Flat movement speed will enhance his gank capability and the cleaning speed in the jungle. It is tweakable with flat AP or more def. I put movement speed on most of my junglers.


You start with a Hunter's Machete (300) + 5Hp pots (35*5). On the first trip you don't update anything but you go for an early Iceborn Gauntlet (3250) starting with Glacial Shroud (1350). I suspected that Spirit of the ancient Golem (2000) wasn't so good on Maokai and in fact it wins less than 50% of the games. Glacial Shroud in the other hand will solve your mana problem alongside providing you more sustain through the armor and an enhanced cleaning speed thanks to its CDR. After that I usually buy boots of mobility (1000) to gank more often as Maokai excels in this area. After this core you have to build according to the enemy team. Against heavy AD you can buy A Randuin's Omen (3000) as it will complete the debuff from your ulti and provides you more HP for your passive. On the same scale you can also buy a Sunfire Cap (2650) or even a frozen Heart (2900). Against a heavy AP team your favorites will be: The Locket of the Iron Solari (2550) and the Spirit Visage (2750). If you still want to build Spirit of the Ancient golem complete it with Ninja Tabi.

Jungle Route

You have to set up you first blue camp. As the game starts cast your first Sapling Toss (E), you will generate 1 charge of Sap. Buy your stuff then go for the blue camp. Cast another E at 1.21 mins as their life spawn is 35 seconds. Cast another one right after and keep the third one at 1.55 when the Blue Spawn. This one will deal its impact and explode damages. You have no 4 charges of Sap and you will heal yourself on your next cast. If you earn your fifth charge upon blue spawn you will only heal yourself being full HP. Go for wolves at level 2 and use your combo W+E. Then hit the creeps to death. Lead for the red camp with your smite up then engage the major creep from behind (between it and the trees) with E+Q. You will have to cast at least another Q to finish it. Then you can pick W and start ganking and you can pick another rank in Q if there are no opportunities. If you are not ganking you are looking for the wraiths and then the respawned wolves. You can finish your first cycle with the solo wraith. Back and start over again without the major camps. If you have the blue buff you can occasionally use W on major creeps. Also you have to position yourself as Maokai to hit everyone with Q.

General guidelines

Maokai has a great tool to gank use it often. You still have to reach the enemy, that’s why I recommend boots of mobility to increase the surprise effect and to lead to the enemy faster. Your standard gank combination will be W+Q you can also cast a sapling E to block the way back or you can throw it while fighting to deal damage.
Once you completed the Ice Born Gauntlet always proc its ability between each cast like this: W+AA+Q+AA+E+AA etc. You cast your skill rapidly only if you are certain that the burst will take the enemy down.
Sapling are like little wards with 35 seconds life spawn. Use it when you are counter juggling.
W is strong to gank but his range is not so great. The enemy will see you coming most of the time. Try to keep the surprise effect on your side as long as you can.
Be cautious with your W+Q combination. The knock back wills suppress the root so learn your timings.
I take warding Totem often to start the game with as I like counter jungling. I'll see it later for a Sweeping Lense once the support can put more wards on the map.\\Be careful with your W as an engage during teamfight. Warn your mates because every engage that reaches the enemies has this downside. In a public game your ally won't follow you if you don't communicate first.
On an engage cast your R right away. Try to reach someone behind the front line as you will be able to cast R right in the middle of the fight.

Games | Strategy Game | Multiplayer Online Battle Arena | League of Legends

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